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The Urban Development Boundary (UDB) is a buffer of land separating metropolitan Miami from the Everglades and its rural and natural resource protection areas. The boundary was created in 1975 to protect the wellbeing of Miami’s communities, economy and environment from unnecessary sprawl in the county. The main objective of the Hold the Line—Ride the Line Coalition is to ensure that South Florida becomes sustainable and resilient by protecting and the rural and natural resource areas to the west of the UDB, and by endorsing smart growth projects within our urban core. We believe that moving the UDB at any location will only encourage and lead to development on sensitive areas that preserve vital resources such as our drinking water, and the open spaces we need to protect our communities from floods, climate change and sea level rise. Our immediate goals include stopping the expansion of the SR-836 outside the UDB, and pushing for an efficient mass transit system in Miami Dade County.

 

Currently, there is a lot of pressure to expand the UDB to the west under the pretense of providing economic benefits to residents of Miami Dade County. However, these claims do not take into account the secondary costs that come with urban sprawl, such as additional infrastructure, increased traffic congestion, overcrowded schools, unacceptable hurricane evacuation times, reduced water supply and flood protection. Moreover, the UDB does not need to be moved to meet population growth projections. There is enough land within the UDB to accommodate the demand for both residential and commercial development. The Hold the Line campaign strongly believes that Miami Dade should enhance the quality of life of current and longtime residents by developing “smart growth” communities, mass transit, localized economies and affordable housing options inside of the UDB before encouraging unnecessary sprawl to the west.

 

The UDB line provides vital natural and rural resource protection. To the northwest, it protects the Everglades and the largest wellfield in Miami-Dade, which is the main source for drinking water in the entire county. In the southwest, the line safeguards our agricultural resources and farmlands, the only area in the county supplying us with local foods. The southeast and southern lines protect the Everglades’ wetlands and the Biscayne Bay watershed, which offer critical habitat for wildlife as well as recreational opportunities. South Florida’s natural areas are an integral part of our tourism economy and add to the quality of life of the residents in Miami Dade County. Furthermore, open spaces help in flood control during storms, allow for aquifer recharge, and act as carbon sinks.

 

If we allow for development outside the UDB, we will continue to pay a high cost of living while our city’s resources and public services are spread thin. Tax dollars used to extend services would reduce available funds for beneficial projects such as mass transit or affordable housing plans. It is more cost effective to use our tax dollars within our urban core by increasing population density on higher elevation areas and expanding mobility options, which would result in a higher quality of life of South Florida’s residents. Furthermore, moving the UDB will further diminish the invaluable resources available to us, such as our drinking water, local agriculture, and vital open spaces, which protect us from flooding and act as carbon sinks.

 

With the imminent threats of climate change and sea level rise, it is essential that we Hold the Line. By maintaining the current Urban Development Boundary, we will enhance our city’s ability to survive in the face of stronger storms and rising seas, encourage smart growth within our urban core, and continue to benefit from the precious economic and natural resources protected by the line.

The Hold the Line—Ride the Line Coalition invites you to join the campaign for a sustainable and resilient South Florida, with a higher quality of life for all. For more information contact us at

HoldTheLineMiami@gmail.com

or call 305.667.7337

Watch Hold the Line on You Tube!  

News coverage on the event by the Miami New Times